Top 10 winter weekends

Relax, reconnect with family, and reward yourself with one of these classic weekend escapes, from B.C. to Arizona

9. PUSH YOURSELF, Never Summer Nordic Yurts, Colorado State Forest

Why here: Because venturing into the Rockies' backcountry takes stamina, preparation, and appreciation for winter's wonders. Each season the snow gods smile on the Medicine Bow Range with up to 6 feet of pure white ― perfect for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Go for as little or as long as you like, then seek refuge in Never Summer Nordic's weather-worthy yurts.

Why go now: By January, trails are blanketed in enough snow to ensure ding-free skis and rockless 'shoeing. Bid hello to your neighbors (elk and moose), fall asleep to snow falling on the canvas roof, and wake up to the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Where to stay: Seven yurts are scattered throughout the area in terrain for every ability. Take an easy .25-mile trail to Dancing Moose, a favorite for its jaw-dropping scenery. For more of a workout, trek 2 miles uphill to Ruby Jewel. Book a yurt for yourself or pack in up to nine of your friends. But book early ― these yurts are popular. From $90;  or 970/723-4070. - Ted Alan Stedman

10. GET CULTURED, Los Angeles

Why here: Because the Los Angeles Art Show has become one of the top forums for artists and art galleries across the West. Now in its 17th year, the show has expanded from its California Impressionist roots to encompass two four-day showcases: one Modern & Contemporary, and the other Historic &Traditional for museum-quality paintings, sculptures, and prints that span five centuries. Revel in artwork by masters ranging from Rembrandt and Picasso to David Hockney, and at design symposiums, learn how to integrate works of art into contemporary homes. Plus, don't miss the 27th annual Print Fair for some exquisite originals. Jan 18-22; $15 in advance, $20 at the door (one day); Los Angeles Convention Center; 1201 S. Figueroa Street, West Hall A; 310/822-9145.

Why go now: The beach crowds have cleared out and the holiday shoppers are gone, leaving you with unfettered access to Santa Monica's palm tree-lined walkways and views of brilliant sunsets from the sand.

Where to stay: California Craftsman meets Asian-accented warmth at the three-year-old Ambrose hotel, located 3 miles from the art show locale. The 77 chic rooms follow feng shui principles and come with Italian bed linens. From $225; 310/315-1555. - Laura Randall

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